Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Bijan Khajebag

City smoking ordinance is a joke with harmful effects to people and their environment.

People smoke to calm mental anxiety created from traffic, hours of commuting, job, family


January 2, 2018

Although this matter has been a harmful problem for NON smoking the people in cities like Santa Monica, but the ignorance of the city governments agencies is shown to be yet another added problem when it coms to smoking ban ordinances.

It all started when a new neighbor moved in two months ago in a new and remolded apartment but of course with a higher rent, an elderly man hip kind of upper-class attitude with a law degree from Barkly practicing labor law, among other, surely with 30 years of experience and a habit in smoking cigars with his drink on his side waiting for him to be sipped while enjoying the odor of his anxiety cooling down his mental problems, meanwhile sucking on that big bad thing calling it enjoyment! I caught him smoking in his balcony just under mine, when I looked at his face his eyes was telling Ohhhh yeehh this is life. At that moment I wondered, how a guy like him ends up living in such "low" class place?

10 Year's ago the city of Santa Monica was one of the most beautiful, clean, prosperous and progressive city desired by many to visit or live here, but thing, both in social political policies and political views have changed, with it the living standard of the people have followed, for the city however; being beautiful, clean, prosperous and progressive been changing to a unhealthy, unpleasant place for the people's living here and the trend in modernizing' that called development, making it worse by the way the same old social politics being played. The city basically have developed and can be categorized into three parts, half of the city, the west, has become an entertainment resulting in increasing crimes of all kinds and the other part, east, has become hospitals and more hospitals with more of medical building and more of medical buildings and rehab old and new and in south the car dealers of all kind from Lincoln Blvd to 26th street where "poorer" people live. Although the modernization, or if you will, the development of the city has created jobs which also have created the traffic nightmare in and out of the city, smoking nightmare and new disrespectful neighbors and landlords that are mostly interested in their own interests then respecting the city smoking law or their neighbors, so what is left of a progressive ideas once dominating the city and ideas for the city remaining as a healthy city has become a fight for and by the people of Santa Monica to survive and keep what they have not wanting to expend anymore arguing simply that the city have no space for anymore development.

In the area where I live there are two UCLA hospitals; few UCLA medical building and an elderly care center just across, next block west of me there are two other medical building and two elderly care centers, just in this area there is more traffic than any Main Street close by. Crossing-pedestrians for people in the area is and was a problem but I was told by the city employee " no one have died yet so why are you concerned about the traffic," that was when people, including me started complaining about the high traffic parking situation and in general high traffic in the area which forced the city to come up with stopping signs on every crossing, not that every driver respects the sign but there is a sign.

People smokes to calm down their mental anxiety created from, among other traffic hours of commuting, job, family and other mental-social issues ending with stress which are the main reasons for all other kind of mental aggressiveness'.

The majority of people living in Santa Monica are not smokers, they simply like their health to remain healthy, so the smoking issue back in 2012, the non smoking city ordinances come into effect with few catch's which makes the law a joke with a non healthy consequences. The law is basically made for landlords to put up the ordinance in public area for people living or will become a new tenant to see that they cannot smoke inside or outside their apartment-condominiums unless they are 25feet from the edge of the building, again in a nonpublic area, for me yet to see that Ordinance to be put-up by my Landlord. Second: upon signing the lease for landlords to inform the tenants about the smoking law and possibly asking the tenants if they are smokers, guiding them to read about the city having a NON smoking ordinance!

In another word, all these wordings are snags which' knowingly or otherwise finalizes the law, which makes the law not functional in practical terms, yet in theoretical terms the law is beautifully drafted and perfect, in the other hand, the wording in this "law" is for people whom are effected by the smoking simply to put up or shout up or fight it because the city authority's are not going to get involved, which questions the motive behind passing such Law.

In another word, the city authorities have produced A Law for you to read but you're on your own if a smoker smokes under or above you jeopardizing you and your family's health, in general the city government more engaged other issues then their people health or wellbeing, that is to say, the very same people whom you trusted and believed that they are there for change, they are there for change alright, and you thought that changes are done for your sake? People moving into the city increases the city taxes, so as long as the city can collect more taxes and able to "balance" the city budget they are not going to give a damn about your or my health.

Let me give an example, if the landlord won't put the ordinance, which in accordance to the law they should, nor inform the new tenants about the city law or ask about smoking habits of a new tenant, than what, nothing, you get the second hand smoke if you share the building with new smoking tenants and according to this law you are forced to live with it or leave your "rent controlled" apartment, and here is funniest part, if you are not happy with the unhealthy issue knowingly or otherwise created situation you sue the smoking tenant in small claim court for $100 dollars up to $1000 dollars, so the question remains, then what?

The city consumer protection department which is part of the city attorney office will not get involved nor the city attorney office or the city office of Code Compliance the information's that provided from the city entities is simply vague, I asked the city attorney office "than what" she simply answered, " If they don't pay the rewarded amount is going to be bad for their credit records-reports"?

Now, I don't care about the dollars amount, my main concern is my health, elderly people at the care centers, the people whom are visiting hospitals and medicals building, the grandkids that are visiting their grand parents, children and elderly that are living in same building or the next, by going to court is a costly concept and a time consuming matter, what should I do while the court process the case taking 60-90 days, do I have to inhale the toxics while I wait? Her answer was more disturbing then her first one, "you can put your costs to be collected as court costs" she said?

Now let's be real, as states and local governments spending millions of dollars advertising about second hand smoke effecting people's health which can develop cancer and other respiratory diseases yet having such defective and nonfunctional law questions the motive behind creating it, why it was passed to instigate is the question!

The city of Santa Monica smoking ordinance is simply a joke protecting landlords and smokers no matter where they are or who landlords might be, this law simply is not honest and passed for pleasing the landlords, specially when it comes to the health of children inhaling the toxic, people with heart problems and others, so demolish the Law or rewrite it with a concept which the health of the people would be first and not the last issue.

Here where my story comes to light, I have a new neighbor-tenant whom is attorney and knows the law, considering that he dose, he also been informed about the law, he is a heavy cigar smoking elderly man driving a Cadillac and I am sure he thinks that he is above the law, otherwise he wouldn't be disrespectful to the law nor to his fellow neighbors, or would he! You see, practicing the civilization makes you civilized not the other way around.


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